Arsenal travel to Liege on Thursday to play their final Europa League group stage game, with a number of permutations for the final standings in Group F.

How can Arsenal top the group?

Group F as it stands
Group F as it stands

After a disappointing defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the last match, Arsenal can still finish anywhere between first and third in their group.

A win would see them top, regardless of Frankfurt’s result against Vitoria. A draw or a defeat for the Gunners would only be enough for first place if Frankfurt also fail to win.

The good news is that Frankfurt only have to draw to see Arsenal through, they don’t need to lose.

The only way Arsenal can be knocked out of the competition completely is if they lose by five goals or more and Frankfurt win. Head-to-head record decides the standings if two teams are level on points, and Arsenal beat Liege 4-0 in the home fixture.

Why does finishing top of the group matter?

The main reason is to do with the eight Champions League teams dropping down. The four highest-seeded teams finishing third in their Champions League group will be drawn against a second-placed Europa League group finisher in the round-of-32.

At this stage, that could still include the likes of Atletico Madrid, Napoli, RB Salzburg, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Olympique Lyonnais.

We’ll know more about the Champions League teams involved after the final games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and you can check out the Champions League betting odds to see who is likely to win each match.

Winning the group also helps Arsenal avoid other group winners. As things stand, that includes Sevilla, Sporting Lisbon, Celtic, Rangers, Espanyol, Monchengladbach and others.

Arsenal have announced a pre-tax loss of £23.5m for the year ending 31 May 2019, and we all know how vital the Champions League money can be in boosting finances.

With the Premier League campaign going as poorly as it has been, winning the Europa League could be the only way back into the competition. The road to the final in Gdansk starts with a good result on Thursday.

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